Families Atrophy, Bureaucracies Grow, Academics Exploit

When progressive activists launched their crusade to dismantle the natural family, few social scientists voiced concerns. Instead, most joined the choirs singing paeons to the gods of radical individualism, luminous deities promising endless happiness and autonomy to men and women who shed the oppressive restraints of marriage and family life. Savvy social scientists were even, sotto voce, sizing up the likely dependency of deracinated individuals on the bureaucracies of the Leviathan State. As the consequences of the progressive war against wedlock and family life become increasingly obvious, canny social scientists make great show of ritualized hand-wringing as they report the distress of the unmarried and family-less casualties of that war. But no one should be surprised when these social scientists turn from wringing their hands over the plight of those hurt by family decay not to soberly calling for a renewal of marriage and family but instead to advocating more statist replacements for wedlock and family.   To see just how social scientists implement their strategy for converting evidence of the suffering consequent to family decay into justification for once again expanding the state, readers need only turn to two recent studies—one from the United States, one from Australia. These two studies document the vulnerability of a growing number of aging Americans and aging Australians, who can no longer find the home-based care often available to earlier generations through intact marriages and large families. But in both studies, the authors somehow manage to interpret their findings not as symptoms of the deterioration of the family but rather as opportunities for enlarging the state. Affiliated with Virginia Tech and Purdue University, the authors of the American study parse data collected from a nationally representative sample of 1,352 men and women ages 65 and up, all of whom anticipated needing long-term care. About half (48%) of these individu
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